Wednesday, December 2, 2009

UW-Duke thoughts

Awesome win, just thrilled with tonight's effort. This isn't Duke's best team ever, but it's still Duke. They're #6 in the country, loaded with McDonald's All-Americans, had never lost in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. We ended that, and the conference likely won the Challenge, with our win being the difference. What an awesome feeling. Huge win for the program, and for the conference.

-The strong early start was so important, we played with the lead the whole game. Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil were assertive early, confidently looking for their shots.

-Trevon Hughes carried the load for most of the rest of the game, he played a terrific game. He's a big game player, really seems to play his best against our best opponents. Played great defense.

-My #2 player of the game is Ryan Evans. The defensive job he did on Kyle Singler, after Singler was unconscious early, was critical. That last play where Singler had the ball, and Evans stayed in front of him and forced a bad shot, was big time defense. Plus, he was aggressive on the boards, and I loved when he tried to throw down that alley-oop, even if he missed it.

-Speaking of dunks, Leuer, Nankivil, and Jared Berggren got into the act, another welcome sign of aggressive play in the paint. I was surprised that Duke yielded those looks, they were pretty blatant defensive breakdowns.

-We won despite not keeping up our torried shooting start, ended up shooting 44% for the game. That speaks to good defense and rebounding.

-Nit picking time. How did this Andre Dawkins get so wide open, especially after he made a couple 3-pointers? Jason Bohannon really struggled from behind the arc, 0-for-6, he makes two of those and the game is over earlier. Nankivil missed the front end of a one-and-one when we were up 11, and I thought that might be a turning point. And on a critical late possession, it was Jordan Taylor, not Pop, taking the shot with the clock running down -- why?

But hey, when the alarm clock rings tomorrow I'll have forgotten all about those things and just remember the win. Should be a great confidence boost for the Badgers and carry over to the rest of the year, like the Texas win two years ago.

I'm tired, more thoughts tomorrow ...


Edward said...

Wow, better in the long run if not the quite in the moment than two years ago. I was jumping up and hoping and cringing the whole game. I think you just have to trade off Singer and Hughes as even, they both made an almost equal number of ridiculous plays. Our other guys were a lil' better. Big men (including Evans) were terrific and maybe Gonzaga is a true top five team, but wow did our big men play a mans game at home.

Bubbles said...

Scott . . . does this mean you'll be cheering for Duke the rest of the year so it remains a big win on the tournament resume of the Badgers??? (I'm using the term "cheering" loosely).

Hughes and Bohannon played 38 minutes each and were a combined 8-8 from the line with ZERO turnovers. It's nice to know our senior guards have that kind of performance in them.

scott.tappa said...

Robby - Though not really a fan, I'm not a Duke hater like most, so year, I'll be pulling for them ... along with Maryland and Arizona. Great resume win.

Matt said...

While Evans is probably the biggest surprise of the early season, and the increased level of play from Leuer and Nankivil was not totally unexpected, Taylor's play seems to play a huge role in the Badgers early success.

He's shown some flashes on offense and has done some great things on the other end. Seems like his minutes may come at Jarmusz's/Wilson's expense and I'm OK with that. Not that Jarmusz should not contribute at all and is a great "program' guy, I just think Taylor offers offensive skills that Jarmusz doesn't have and arguably, more important to this mix of players. At this point I feel much more comfortable with Taylor or Jarmusz on the floor than Wilson.

I know a lot of people were questioning Taylor's ability to score, but I think people will be very pleasantly surprised the next three years. After all, weren't a lot of the same things said about Pops a couple of years ago?

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